It's that time of year again, the one where we send senior classes off into the wild blue yonder. But before they go, many of them will participate in some regular traditions and we want to know what you think are our best local senior traditions?
Hi. My name is Liz, and I’m a movie addict. Some of you already knew that I was a huge music fan – I spend way too much on concert tickets but hey, who doesn’t enjoy a night out at the Tuscaloosa Amp seeing The Avett Brothers once in a while? Well, now you know my other secret: movies. I love them. Even the bad ones.
And that’s kinda what I wanted to talk about right now: Bad movies…for date night.
By: Zani Polk
Pan (releases October 9, 2015): No one wants to grow up, which is why the Peter Pan story never gets old. In this new movie, learn about the origins of Peter Pan and how he became the legend we know him to be today.
Jem and the Holograms (releases October 23, 2015): Four sisters are flung into fame after a video of their music is posted on the internet. But with the fame, the bonds and relationships they hold closest are tested. This movie takes you on a journey that will make you rethink who you are and what you choose to be.
Goosebumps (releases October 16, 2015): Back in the early ‘90s R.L. Stein’sGoosebumps series was the biggest thing at school book fairs and library trips. Maybe you read some, maybe you remember reading them to your siblings, or maybe you helped your kids pick them out. Regardless, this Halloween season, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Jack Black bring the spookiness ofGoosebumps to life. It’s a great alternative to a scarier movie on Halloween night.
The Peanuts Movie (releases November 6, 2015): For Thanksgiving you may be ripping out the old classic, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, but you don’t have to wait that long to see Charlie Brown in action. In this 3D film, a new kid moves to town and Charlie Brown gets another chance to prove he’s a winner. Join in to watch all of your favorites—from Lucy and Snoopy to Peppermint Patty.
My All American (releases November 13, 2015): It may not be the Crimson Tide, but it is football. Catch this heartwarming movie about sportsmanship and determination, as a young athlete—seemingly too small to compete—makes it in college football.
The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay—Part II (releases November 20, 2015): In the fourth and final movie of the series, Katniss Everdeen brings her fight to the Capitol. Finally she must take on President Snow and defend the current and future freedoms of the people of Panem.
The Good Dinosaur (releases November 25, 2015): Pixar has done it again! Imagine a world where humans and dinosaurs existed together. Imagine dinosaurs replacing dogs as man’s best friend. In this heartwarming tale, see a young boy bond in friendship with a good dinosaur and combat the elements of earth’s earliest periods.
Article sponsored by Belle Chambre.
Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BelleChambreTuscaloosa
By Liz Stephens
We did it: We just booked our first-ever trip to Europe! 12 days of fun and frolicking in London and Paris. And of course, this means a lot of walking. As much as I heart my Antelope wedges, something tells me they won’t work so well on the cobblestone streets of the UK and France. No, I need new kicks that will give me enough support to walk much more than I normally do.
Therein lies the problem. No one wears actual “kicks” in Paris. No, the women of Paris float around effortlessly in adorable ballet flats all day long (looking perfectly put together, of course). I’ve tried ballet flats before – they typically don’t offer enough support for all-day walking. But is it even possible to buy cute shoes that are also good for traipsing around, tourist-style all the time?
I’m here to tell you, after exhaustive research and tons of shopping (and returning), yes, you can find cute walking shoes for Europe that won’t leave your feet aching after day one of your vacation.
I found three pairs. Three. Pairs. Of. Shoes. I. Love. I now own a new pair of boots, a pair of Mary Janes and a pair of delicate-but-supportive flats – and that’s all my happy traveling feet will need for this trip.
First, the boots: Autumn in London and Paris can be a tricky time, shoe-wise. Average temps are between 45-60 degrees, and it rains. A lot. My thinking was, I needed a pair of boots that were waterproof and slip-proof.
That’s where these awesome ECCO boots came in. The ECCO Abelone GTX Short Boot is perfect for my needs. It is extremely waterproof, it offers plenty of sole support (and a removable footbed if you need to put in some orthotics), and it’s actually really cool looking (IMO). The GORE-TEX was a concern – would they be simply too hot for fall? I’ve worn them around for several days now and I can honestly say that no, they’re no warmer than any other ankle boot.
See? Nice, right? I like the sleek look of this boot – it will pair really well with my black pants and jeans. ECCO shoes/boots are not cheap, but at long last, I’ve finally learned that you almost always do get what you pay for – spend the $$$ and get good shoes. I’ve earned it.
Next up: My casual, practical walking shoe – the Naot Sea. I’ve heard friends rave for years about Naot shoes. “They’re the most comfy shoes ever!” “It’s like walking on clouds!”
But wow, the price. Yikes. The high price always held me back, but given how much we’re shelling out for our trip, I figured I should at least order a pair and see what all the fuss is about.
I’ll be honest: The Naot Sea isn’t the greatest looking shoe out of the box. The shoes are definitely much cuter ON. Don’t write off Naot until you try a pair. The Sea shoes feature a 1.5” polyurethane sole (very sturdy for cobblestone walking), along with an anatomic cork and latex footbed that molds to your feet as you wear them.
And you know what? The moment I slipped these shoes on, I knew why everyone was raving. Yep, it really does feel like you are walking on clouds, with some support of course. But the cushioning is definitely there.
See? Not bad looking, but not the shoe you grab in the store and scream over. It’s a much better looking shoe ON. Just remember that. You owe it to yourself to at least try the Naot. If you aren’t thrilled with the thicker sole, you can always go with one of Naot’s other popular Mary Jane styles (the Matai is nice looking, for example).
And now for the “fun” part of my shoe shopping experience: the search for the delicate-but-supportive flats! The challenge here, without a doubt, was to find a great feminine-looking shoe that I could wear out to nice dinners.
IF I win the lottery tomorrow, I can tell you I’ll purchase a pair of Tieks, but the high price point keeps me from pulling the trigger and ordering. For now, I’m really thrilled to say that I found a great pair of stylish, black travel flats by Yosi Samra.
Adorable, right? And SO comfortable! These are the shoes I think I’ll wear the most around town on a day-to-day basis, though for Europe I may have to limit them to just evenings (possibly with tights). They have a great, durable sole and a bit of padding but very little arch support. The Samra is a slip-on flat that just seems perfect for everything from running errands or a nice dinner out. Also? They are lightweight, and they pack extremely well. They fold right up into the cutest little dust bag for traveling (and they fit in my tote – another plus).
I hope this helps anyone worrying about the agony of aching feet (or in my case, also an aching back) – you can absolutely find cute shoes for fall walking in Europe, you just have to start shopping early and be prepared to return the shoes or boots if they don’t fit right. Allow plenty of time for this process, because I’m told that shoes really are the MOST important thing when it comes to packing right for a European trip.
By Tori Linville
You’re in the market to find some perfect home furnishings that reflect you and your household. But the newly built stuff just doesn’t cut it these days. Anyone who’s ever paid the tiniest attention to HGTV knows that the secret lies in the furniture with history. Antiques! We’ve got some places for you to shop in the area that will hopefully have you meeting the perfect piece soon.
Adam’s Antiques/The Potager
Owned by the same people, these antique staple stores have a wide variety of furniture from tapestries to paintings to armoires. From England to France, the owners travel all different places in for one of a kind items. To get a pretty good idea of what the store offers, visit their website.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Sundays.
Capitol Park Antiques, Interiors and Gardens
Capitol Park allows for all kinds of items whether it’s antiques, home décor and even garden items. They have a large selection of furniture from wardrobes, rugs and even bedding. For more information on the store’s selection, check out their website.
· Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Skyland Antique Mall
While it’s more like a flea market, there’s a reason the antique mall made the list. Here you’ll find Alabama football memorabilia to knock your socks off, along with tons of antique furniture and a coin collection to boot. The mall has helpful staff and even conducts moving and estate sales. See what else the mall provides here.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hanna Antiques Mall
Voted as the best antique mall in Birmingham, Hanna Antiques Mall seems to have everything and anything you could think of. From antique furniture to a large selection of rugs to a huge selection of miscellaneous items, there’s always something great to buy (or at least think about buying). On top of that, an anniversary sale is going on now and ends July 31. See what’s going on at Hanna’s here.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What’s On 2nd
Friendly staff and eclectic finds are what’s on 2nd, according to customer reviews. Neat finds include tons of childhood toys from decades past, magazines, furniture and more. Deals and discounts are all over the place. Known to carry everything weird and cool, What’s On 2nd is a pop culture capitol right in Birmingham.
· Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Homewood is another great find in Birmingham that has tons of merchandise to browse through. Antiques, jewelry, boutique clothing, custom nursery bedding, hand-made items and more can all be found behind Homewood’s doors. For more info, check out their website.
· Open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.
All kinds of items and pieces are found at De’Frances such as salvaged and repurposed pieces, jewelry, collectibles and more. Check out what’s going on and even go on a tour of De’France here.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pottery, glassware, handmade jewelry and candles and more are all for sale at Flutterby. Friendly staff and gift wrap services make this antique shop one more place to visit in Destin. See more here.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Antiques on Holiday
Antiques on Holiday features reasonable prices with a wide array of items to choose from. The establishment posts regularly on their Facebook page to let customers know about sales and new items.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Article sponsored by Bama Exterminating.
Find them on the web at http://bamaexterminating.com
It may be hot this season, but the long summer days have got us ready to enjoy dinner on the patio at Tuscaloosa’s most popular restaurants. Check out our recommendations to enjoy an al fresco breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Tuscaloosa style.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. It’s what a body starts off with and what gives it energy. Some believe breakfast is in a league all its own, while others only save breakfast for the weekends. Which ever way you swing, we’ve listed the best breakfasts in the area to satisfy every stomach.
Have you ever been to a vacation spot so fast and so beautiful, that you wish it were your home? That’s how I feel anytime I stay along the stunning Gulf Coast. From the shores of Mississippi to the vast, emerald waters of the Florida Panhandle, to the sugar white sands of the Alabama Gulf Coast, the area offers numerous vacation spots boasting genuine, natural beauty.
By Chloe P. Ballard
If you are looking for some family friendly things to do in Alabama this summer, here are a few really great options that your whole family will enjoy!
Children's Hands-On Museum
Learning through play is great fun, and it's particularly fun at Tuscaloosa's Children's Hands-On Museum (CHOM). CHOM also stands for "Children Explore, Create and Discover" - because that's exactly what they do, each time they visit this downtown wonderland. This three-story museum features two dozen different exhibits designed to appeal to children of all ages, from newborns to 13-year-olds. And, unlike many museums, CHOM encourages kids to touch things, allowing their curiosity to blossom.
Alabama Cave System
Do you know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites? Well, you will surely learn the difference after visiting any of Alabama’s caves. The caves have a rich history of being used for various activities, and there have been over 4,200 caves discovered across Alabama. Many of these natural wonders are open to the public and are used to precipitate education about subterranean structures and life forms. Great for families, cave exploration is fascinating and will surely enrich both children and parents.
Helen Keller’s Birthplace
Great for families and school groups, Helen Keller’s birthplace at Ivy Green is an educational opportunity for all ages. The home, built in 1820, is available for tours. Tuscumbia’s historic Spring Park is the location of the annual Helen Keller Festival, where children can learn about the early life of Helen Keller. While visiting Tuscumbia, check out the Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House, Indian Mound & Museum, and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
Rosa Parks Museum Children’s Wing
Children learn about how one amazing woman made a difference in this world in 1955. And on the Rosa Parks Museum Children’s Wing tour, children learn that they too can make a difference by standing up for what they believe to be right. While visiting Montgomery, stop by the State Capitol, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the Montgomery Zoo, and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
Gulf Coast Science Center
Design your own roller coaster, play a laser harp, and hold a holographic heart in your hand at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center! The current visiting exhibit is the “Great Dinosaur Egg Hunt” which is an exceptional collection of dinosaur nests and eggs many of which have been featured in National Geographic magazine. The exhibit features, life-like models of dinosaur embryos, Tyrannosaurid bone replicas for touching, and a leg bone puzzle, to name a few things. Afterward, consider walking in Bellingrath Gardens to enjoy its 65-acres of beauty. Kids will enjoy the butterfly garden and parents will enjoy the beautiful scenery. Also visit Alabama’s Pecan Festival, Hank Aaron’s Childhood Home and Museum, and the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.